The Future of Electromobility in the Mining Industry in Chile

In Latin America, the implementation of sustainable technologies is a central theme of climate change policy. Environmental regulations are being strengthened, renewable energies, electromobility and efficient energy storage are increasingly becoming focal points, and mine operators want to reduce their ecological footprint. Quality-conscious Chile plays a pioneering role and offers Swiss SMEs exciting business opportunities with large order volumes.

Mining vehicle

Chile, the first OECD member of South America, was ranked the second most attractive emerging country worldwide to invest in renewable energy by Bloomberg’s Climatescope ranking of 2021. This comes as no surprise looking at the Andean countries natural resources with the highest solar irradiance on earth in the Atacama Desert and its efforts and commitments in the recent years. During 2020, Chile updated its NDC, committing to be carbon neutral by 2050, being the only developing country to do so and one of the few in the world to start dispatching a Climate Change Framework Law. 

Chile’s energy consumption is still highly dependent on fossil fuels (67.6% corresponds to oil, coal and natural gas) of which over 90% is imported. Therefore, electricity and transport in Chile are among the most expensive in the world. The sectors with the highest consumption of energy are transport and the mining industry which makes them the focus of the transformation to use (more) renewable energy.

We have the challenge of being carbon neutral by 2050, and here electromobility will play a kill role, contributing 20% of our emissions reduction – Biminister of Energy and Mining, Juan Carlos Jobet.

Last year, the Chilean state launch the Centre for Development of Electromobility, whose purpose will be the creation and scaling of technology providers and service users becoming a relevant actor in promoting the development of the industrial network of electromobility in Chile and Latin America. At the same time, they introduced their National Green Hydrogen Strategy and created the Institute of Clean Technologies.

In Chile, investments of around 1,000 megawatts have been made by 2020, bringing the total amount of renewable energy generated to around 2,600 megawatts. This is an unprecedented historic growth. Only the comparison with the industrial revolution comes close – Marcelo Mena, Former Chilean Minister of Energy

Special focus is given to the Chile’s largest industry, its mining sector, being the greatest contributor to CO2 emissions and consumer of energy in the country. Companies are making significant efforts to supply electricity from renewable sources, either by agreeing with their supplier that the supply comes from renewable energies, or by participating in the investment of renewable energy based generation projects. Within the industry, especially mining trucks make up a big junk of the consumption, so any effort to incorporate electromobility, pure or combined with the use of green hydrogen, will contribute greatly to reducing emissions and cost in the transport of minerals. This study has identified 1,600 trucks (CAEX) and a high degree of interest by the mining companies to change their fleet. However, there is little supply of electric mining trucks or technology providers capable of retrofitting existing mining trucks and other equipment. Other opportunities can be found in solutions related to green hydrogen, the creation of value added to the entire supply chain as well as a variety of services such as financial services, advanced consulting and insurance.

Read our brochure to find out more about the potential of Swiss companies related to electromobility in Chile or contact our Senior Consultant South America, Bruno Aloi, for further information.